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Tomtate, Grunt, Spot tail, pain in the a–. The last name is usually what you call Haemulon aurolineatum when you start catching them. They look very similar to the white grunt that we all call “grey snapper” (it sounds better for the tourists than grunt), but they have a spot on the tail….

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Threadfin Herring

Another of my favorite baits is the Threadfin Herring (Opisthonema oglinum) or commonly known on my coast as the greenback. It has a very long thread-like fin at the back of its dorsal that accounts for its name. Again, like most baits, it has many regional names depending on where you live. It grows to 12″ according to the books, but I have never seen them over 8″. The greenback is usually found only when the water is fairly warm and is easily seen when on the surface. It has been my experience that they do not come to chum like whitebait…..

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Spot Tail Pinfish

Spot tail pinfish (Diplodus holbrooki) – I wonder if Diplodus is any relation to Hal? – is also known as porgy, spot, spot-tail porgy, and sailor’s choice. They are similar in appearance to the pinfish, but they have a large black spot in front of the base of the tail. According to the biologists, they hang around in shallow coastal waters and in lower areas of coastal bays and sounds. My experience is that they are most frequently caught in offshore waters around hard bottom and reefs, and they are good baits, cut or alive……

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The spot (Leiostomus xanthrus) is similar to the croaker but with a spot just behind the gills. They’re also called lafayette or flat croaker and are good bait for bottom fish. We don’t frequently see them, but be sure and keep them if you do catch a few in your cast net because they are…..

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